Club For Growth: Debt Default, No; Government Shutdown, Yes

As House Republicans prepare to pass their rather convoluted temporary debt-limit increase legislation (requiring the Senate to pass a budget or face a constitutionally dubious pay cutoff), Dave Weigel notes a rather dramatic if muted shift of position by the Club for Growth:

The Club for Growth, the campaign group most feared by Republicans, is giving them a pass if they vote for the debt limit increase tomorrow. In a statement, Club President Chris Chocola absolves members if they support the compromise, hammered out among Republicans during their retreat, that cuts no spending and only threatens to withhold pay if senators don’t pass a budget.

“The Club for Growth will not oppose tomorrow’s vote on the debt ceiling. Club for Growth will, on the other hand, strongly oppose any efforts during the upcoming debate over the continuing resolution and sequester that fail to arrest out-of-control spending and put sensible limits on the growth of government.”

Is this a shift? Boy howdy, is it ever. In the summer of 2011, John Boehner asked Republicans to back a debt limit hike that included $1.2 trillion of cuts for a $1 trillion increase. The Club opposed it.

The other shoe dropping, however, is that the Club is drawing a line in the sand over appropriations (both measures to replace or reduce the scheduled sequester, and to deal with an expiring continuing resolution funding much of the federal government). Then they will presumably insist not only on dramatic domestic spending cuts but also the so-not-happening constitutional amendment permanently limited spending to a fixed percentage of GDP. So the Right’s hostage-taking threat has now shifted from a debt default to a government shutdown.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.